[Taxacom] Data query

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Wed Jun 26 03:49:37 CDT 2013

Paul: You misinterpet me. I was trying to say that a Wikipedia article on a topic may (or may not) point the user to one or more useful references. If it doesn't, then nothing is gained or lost. If it does, then you read those useful references and cite them. It is all about verifiability. You disregard anything that you cannot verify from the sources. This applies equally to any biodiversity database like IPNI, The Plant List, Index Fungorum, CoL, WoRMS, etc. TRUST NOBODY! Always check for yourself. But the process of finding the relevant references can be streamlined by these databases and Wikipedia/Wikispecies ...

From: Paul van Rijckevorsel <dipteryx at freeler.nl>
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu 
Sent: Wednesday, 26 June 2013 8:18 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Data query

From: <Tony.Rees at csiro.au>
Sent: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 3:58 AM
> This is a known issue and not just for wikispecies (or Wikipedia) [...]

There is a difference here: most websites aim to present 
one (hopefully definitive) way to classify any one taxon,
while disregarding all others (except in synonymy). The 
problem at Wikipedia is the reverse: Wikipedia prescribes 
that all ways to classify a taxon are to be given coverage 
each in proportion to its prominence (the views held by 
Linnaeus are not of great scientific interest, but rather are 
historical features), but there is a strong lobby (Stephen 
Thorpe's "army") that will act to prevent this (this same 
"army" will act in many instances, but not as suggested, 
when misinformation is entered, as evidenced by all the 
junk that is there).

[As an aside note: Wikipedia should not, as suggested by 
Stephen Thorpe, be mined for references. Even leaving
aside those users that will add a spurious list of references 
to make their point of view appear more believable, there 
are all sorts of reasons why the references in Wikipedia 
entries may not pan out. Every reference should be checked
before re-using and it should not be assumed that they
are anywhere near the most authoritative sources 


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